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Made In America by Bill Bryson

Made In America (original 1994; edition 1998)

by Bill Bryson

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3,035321,871 (3.81)51
Title:Made In America
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Black Swan (1998), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library

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Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson (1994)


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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Like all of Bill Bryson's work, a cheeky, good-natured, and ultimately extremely informative romp. ( )
  Bill_Bibliomane | Aug 1, 2013 |
This ended up being much more of a straightforward history book than I expected. It rambled pleasantly and expansively through American history, pausing frequently to examine origins of common words and expressions.

I was surprised at how clearly Bryson's political views shone through the text, but since those views - liberal, populist - generally agreed with mine, that was a plus in my eyes. Few things are quite so gratifying as reading a book (or even a bumper sticker) that states your own opinion better than you yourself could have.

Denser than [b:A Short History of Nearly Everything|21|A Short History of Nearly Everything|Bill Bryson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255682270s/21.jpg|2305997], not quite as funny as [b:A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail|9791|A Walk in the Woods Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail|Bill Bryson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275694125s/9791.jpg|613469]. I enjoyed this book, and learned more than expected to. I probably would have enjoyed it even more if I weren't already pretty well versed in American history, but as it stood, quite a bit of this was review for me. Nonetheless, good stuff! ( )
  benjamin.duffy | Jul 28, 2013 |
I'm up to Benjamin Franklin and frankly Ben, I've had enough of you and this book. I usually like Bryson's writing style, but the fruity self-congratulatory tone of this is irritating. Also, I think if you are an American you might be a great deal more interested in the entire of history of America as experienced by European settlers than I am. No 'might' about it, of course you are, its your country. Me, sorry, but I couldn't care less.

Does that sound almost sacrilegious to you? Ask yourself this, what interest do you have in Caribbean history (somewhat, but not entirely, boring) or worse, much worse, Welsh history, since its not exactly a history of a get-up-and-go people who Did Great Things (they liked to sing a lot and annoy the English essentially).

Now I like history, I do, especially books by people like Liza Picard and Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, but they tend to keep politicians out of it. Nothing bores like reading political squabbles, at least to me.

Also, the Indians, in whom I have a major interest as all I know about them is war, ceremonies and their problems with alcohol and success with gambling, are dismissed by Bryson with just a little about their linguistic contribution to American English.

I'm not saying its not a good book, I've never read a bad Bryson one, but its just plain boring to me and life is too short and books too many to bother finishing it. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
Bill Bryson ROCKS. This book is so interesting. I swear I don't have a single conversation without saying (at LEAST once) "well in bill bryson's book ____ he says that..." ( )
  amaraduende | Mar 30, 2013 |
Classic Bryson. While the ostensible subject is American English, he uses both historical and cultural approaches to expose the reader to an incredible amount of information that at least this reader finds fascinating. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Feb 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCall, BruceIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberts, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the 1940s, a British traveller to Anholt, a small island fifty miles out in the Kattegat straight between Denmark and Sweden, noticed that the island children sang a piece of doggerel that was clearly nonsense to them.
As Jefferson put it: "The new circumstances under which we are placed, call for new words, new phrases, and for the transfer of old words to new objects".
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380713810, Paperback)

Readers from Toad Suck, Arkansas, to Idiotsville, Oregon--and everywhere in between--will love Made in America, Bill Bryson's Informal History of the English Language in the United States. It is, in a word, fascinating. After reading this tour de force, it's clear that a nation's language speaks volumes about its true character: you are what you speak. Bryson traces America's history through the language of the time, then goes on to discuss words culled from everyday activities: immigration, eating, shopping, advertising, going to the movies, and others.

Made in America will supply you with interesting facts and cocktail chatter for a year or more. Did you know, for example, that Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" credo has its roots in a West African proverb? Or that actor Walter Matthau's given name is Walter Mattaschanskayasky? Or that the supposedly frigid Puritans--who called themselves "Saints," by the way--had something called a pre-contract, which was a license for premarital sex? Made in America is an excellent discussion of American English, but what makes the book such a treasure is that it offers much, much more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:44 -0400)

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Traces America's history through language & culture.

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